It is with the heaviest of hearts we have to say goodbye to the light of a thousand worlds. Charlene Preston passed suddenly on Nov. 14, 2022, near Hanna, Ata. at the age of 46.
The first-born daughter to Richard and Charlotte Preston arrived Jan. 22, 1976 in Hanna, Alta. She was blessed with a sister Joleen in 1978.
In her youngest years, she was involved in basketball, the Ag Society and was the communities highest in-demand babysitter.
If you were lucky enough to have known Charlene, you’d see how diverse her lifestyle really was. She was an avid 4H member, achieving multiple awards within the program and earning the title of Ambassador for the East Central region. She always had a passion for 4H and recently came back to the Hanna area as a leader and member of the Board of Directors for the province.
She produced priceless quilts and sewing projects that have warmed the souls of people around the world and tempted the tastebuds of fellow pickle lovers and canning buddies in several communities.
She started travelling young with her parents and caught the bug in 1983 on a trip to England, and to list all the trips she took would fill a book itself.
Some of the most memorable adventures took her to Vietnam, Japan, Eastern Europe, almost every state in the United States, all provinces in Canada and every beach in Mexico. Travelling the world as a cast member of Up With People solidified she was most at home on a beach in the sand.
Her college career took Charlene to Olds where she completed the Commercial Floristry Certificate, Greenhouse Management Diploma and an Applied Degree in Horticulture.
It was here she fostered a love of politics as president of the Student Council and was honoured with the national award as the Association of Community Colleges Student Leader of the Year Award.
These accolades were just a tip of the dedication she put into everything she was a part of – from volunteer hours to community involvement and the impacts she made in every part of her life.
Her experiences and absolute passion for hockey started at a young age cheering her cousins on from the stands and continued into a marketing career with the Olds Grizzlies AJHL team. The community had become home to Charlene, and she filled the role with enthusiasm and professionalism making contacts throughout the hockey community all over the world.
As families grew, she was blessed and gifted with two immediate nephews, Chance and Colby Scott. By this time, she already had many adopted nieces and nephews, which grew tenfold throughout the years with dearest friends’ kids.
She even travelled abroad to be the nanny and second mom in a quest to help as many people as she could.
This kind and compassionate side of Charlene also saw her as a massage therapist offering various energy-healing alternatives in the communities of Delia, Drumheller and Hanna.
Entrepreneurship and love for flowers, set her up to open her business of Artistic Petals and Scents in Hanna where she designed amazing personalized works of art for clients, family and friends near and far.
A change in circumstance allowed for opportunities that brought her back to politics on the provincial stage, as administrative assistant for multiple MLA’s in Hanna, Innisfail and Sundre.
Anyone with the chance to have a visit with Char, would soon hear of one of the Auntie Day adventures she was so incredibly proud of. Countless time and effort went into planning special trips that specifically suited Chance and Colby perfectly, and if it didn’t involve dogsledding, knife making or going to a Garth Brooks concert, she knew it wouldn’t be just for them…..so that’s what she did, and they cherished those times.
Her wishes were always to return home to Hanna, and be closer to the “boys”, Chance and Colby.
The perfect opportunity combining children and her experience in horticulture and administration landed her a job at the Youngstown Greenhouse School of Excellence, where she was able to share her extensive knowledge and passion for the greenhouse industry with youth.
An impressive achievement she was proud to share, was her active participation for all 13 years of the 100 km. Kidney March always in flip-flops regardless of the conditions.
In the last six years, she’s shared her life and experiences with her faithful companion who shared an extensive love of travel, spas and even participated alongside her walking every step in the Kidney March. Grant has been that steady relationship she had been yearning for years to find, and it’s been cut short far too soon.
Charlene will be forever remembered and missed as that lovable aunt, biggest fan and most loyal friend of everyone she came in contact with. Her cheers could echo in a hockey arena and light up a football field all on her own.
All of her nieces and nephews, blood-related or not, were the lights in her world, but none shone as bright as hers did in ours.
She is survived by her parents Richard and Charlotte Preston, sister Joleen (Cody) Scott, nephews Chance and Colby, partner Grant Minifie and his daughter Aisleigh; grandmother Violet Metzger numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
A Celebration of Charlene’s life will be on Mon. Nov. 28, 2022, at 12 noon at the Hanna Hockey Rink. The family encourages guests to dress warmly.
Condolences can be sent to the family at www.hannafuneral.ca.
In lieu of flowers donations in memory of Charlene can be made directly to The Kidney Foundation of Canada, 6007 1A Street SW, Calgary, Alta. T2H 0G5, or www.kidney.ca, and/or The Mountain Rose Woman’s Shelter, 4708 46 St, Rocky Mountain House Alta. T4T 1C5.
Hanna Funeral Services Ltd. has been entrusted with the care and arrangements, 403-854-5956.